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Chief executive insists Lichfield Garrick is “critical” to local businesses

EXCLUSIVE: The chief executive of the Lichfield Garrick has insisted the theatre is “critical” to businesses in the city.

The theatre has found itself under scrutiny after Lichfield District Council revealed a programme of cuts.

With 20 jobs and several services at risk as the local authority looks to plug a £1.7million gap in its finances with the Fit for the Future review, several critics had questioned the financial support given to the Garrick.

Lichfield District Council’s opposition Labour group leader, Cllr Steve Norman, described the arts venue as “a vanity project”.

Adrian Jackson

Adrian Jackson

But now Adrian Jackson has defended the theatre, highlighting its use by a number of community education and performing arts projects, insisting that much of its work in contributing to the local area goes unseen.

“The Garrick is almost a 24 hour, seven day a week operation and is not just for public performances,” the chief executive and artistic director explained.

“I feel this is the hidden side of the Lichfield Garrick but it is so vital to the life and vibrancy of our city and district.

“The Garrick also brings in thousands of people from across the region for shows, conferences and events, and showcases not only what the theatre has to offer, but also the city and encourages revisits.

“Every year it is estimated that the combined visitors and performers appearing at the Garrick have an economic impact of over £7million in the city, which is critical to local shops and businesses.

“Many thousands of performers and visitors stay overnight within the city centre in our hotels and guest houses and spend in our restaurants, bars and shops whilst they are here.

“With regards to funding, we are working closely with our new board to identify other sources and are committed to helping to reduce our reliance on the council significantly.”

The Garrick became a charitable theatre trust earlier this year.

The move was heralded as an opportunity to give the venue a chance to find funding from a wider range of bodies and exploit more commercial opportunities.

At the time Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council, said the move had put the theatre in a “much stronger position”.

Cllr Louise Flowith

Cllr Louise Flowith

Now fellow Conservative Cabinet Member Cllr Louise Flowith said the local authority were keen for the theatre to stand on its own two feet – but admitted the link between the venue and the council couldn’t be completely cut immediately.

“Arts, culture and the visitor economy is a major economic driver in Lichfield District,” Cllr Flowith said. “The Lichfield Garrick and other attractions and events bring in thousands of people every year into the city and district, supporting hundreds of jobs and businesses, and make the district attractive to new residents and businesses, which is vital.

“That said, we have always been keen to see the Lichfield Garrick’s become more financially independent, but this isn’t something that can be done overnight, without risking the theatre and a massive detrimental effect on the city.

“Earlier this year, the Lichfield Garrick became a charitable trust, and already this move will see the council’s support for the Lichfield Garrick dropping by £160,000 in 2015/16.

“The Lichfield Garrick also has an ambitious plan to raise financial support from other sources, and we fully expect the Lichfield Garrick to rely less on the council year on year as a result.

“Whilst as a council we are undergoing a thorough review of our services as part of Fit for the Future, we remain committed to supporting the Lichfield Garrick, and recognise the many benefits it brings to our district and residents.”

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

47 Comments

  1. Cynic

    7th June, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    “economic impact of over £7million in the city, which is critical to local shops and businesses” In that case let those that get the £7Million pay the subsidy the rest of us are forced to pay. They will still make over £6Million per year NET.

    Alternatively – if the Garrick is used 24/7 as you make out – charge an extra £100 per hour and you will not need a subsidy!

    I accept there are two sides to this debate but it comes down to – sack a few people so we can subsidise the Garrick!

  2. Lichfieldbusiness

    7th June, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Whilst the subject of a council contributing towards and / or funding a theatre to any degree, particularly during the current economic “mess” is debatable, given that such a venue and for that matter any kind of leisure, recreational or cultural outlet is clearly non-essential to the basic needs of any citizen and tax payer. What cannot be measured is the immense pleasure, intellectual stimulation and realisation of many a youngsters talent and ambition that a venue such as The Garrick can release. Lichfield is a very special place and the kudos that The Garrick brings to the city and the impact that the theatre has on the economy is immense. Look around the city and you will see many empty shops and businesses. Look deaper and you will quickly realise that many a business, restaurant and bar are reliant on the footfall into Lichfeld that The Garrick generates. Times are hard and in many ways desperate. Lichfield has much to be proud of, it’s history, it’s great cathedral and its culture. Lichfield needs The Garrick, please don’t knock it, use it. It’s an asset for all of us.

  3. Cynic

    8th June, 2013 at 12:40 am

    While I agree with much you have stated – no one NEEDS a theatre. It is nice to have – some want it because they are too idle to go a few miles down the road but NEED never.
    Have you noticed in the NEWS they are talking about closing hospitals as we can not afford so many close together – travel a few miles extra to A&E – but we can not contemplate travelling to a theatre!
    A lot of business near the Garrick have shut – from your comment one would expect the business nearest the theatre would gain the most!
    We are told £7Million profit – “Male Bovine Waste Product” prove the business that make that much and take a “windfall” off them. How can they complain – we give them £7Million we ask for £1Million.
    IF the £7Million is true (LOL) just the threat of closing – (a big red £7Million on their balance sheet) will see them rushing to pay the £1Million.

  4. Cynic

    8th June, 2013 at 12:49 am

    “we have always been keen to see the Lichfield Garrick’s become more financially independent, but this isn’t something that can be done overnight,”

    No one is suggesting “overnight” – we have been pouring money into this bottomless pit for many decades – or do you think 30 or 40 years is too soon to expect it to stand alone?

  5. John

    19th June, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I love that phrase *bottomless pit* it was one used from the the lovely old “community group* that thought for *all* of Lichfield residents. They soon sheltered when the residents proved them wrong. It is true the Garrick was built upon one of 2 old entertainment venues – then maybe they were a bottomless pit. But not now, to compare the Garrick to the civic hall shows a lack of experience and Education on the matter of an arts venue. You look across the country… how many theatre’s are actually part funded by the tax payer or local council somewhere along the line for both commercial and charity venues.

    As for we don’t need a theatre – well think of it you don’t need a lot of things – public toilets?! the’re are some public ones on the ground floor of the Garrick , some in tesco’s to name but two. But there is still outcry when there is a risk to them. Does everyone use a sports centre? no way in fact it probably brings less revenue and brings less footfall to the area than the theatre – let’s get rid of that, but oh dear public outcry again. It was suggested recently to re open the old cinema, this tells me something the people of Lichfield love the arts, they want more and more from it. A city without a theatre is like a city without cathedral – it just isn’t thinkable. The city of stoke has 4 3 of which is part funds including a commercial provider!. The fact of buisnesses closing around the Garrick is not a hard case really – you go around lichfield on the day of a matinee of their christmas show and you will see the footfall it has all of who flood to the theatre at 2:00pm and then afterwards go to surrounding pubs and restaurants.

    It is hard to see for alot o people what something does for those who don’t see or understand the workings of a community venue like the garrick – but as said before in this post, all of those young people, all of the older regeneration ho get together and go there – these are not middle class citizens but the vulnerable. The ones who are really the blunt bearers of this recession.

    The artistic director himself is quite a famous one and has quite a name for himself in london and elsewhere – if you can attract him to develop what was a defunct community venue then lichfield can attract anyone.

    I will finish on this point – the newest garrick rep YOUR local theatre company and their locally produced Educating Rita a quote from the UK’s leading arts newspaper and website “Under Gareth Tudor Price’s sure-footed direction, this two-hander is a joy from start to finish and another resounding hit for the Garrick Rep Company.”. This is being read by pretty much every high up person in the arts – this is the reputation the garrick itself has worked up since The Lichfield Garrick’s opening the theatre not the civic centre. If a reputation like that doesn’t suggest attracting people I would love to know what will!

    It also shows the Garrick’s view of finances when it is a two hander and a set built for it’s studio space – a pretty low budget production – not wasted money – careful money management.

  6. Wiggy

    20th June, 2013 at 11:50 am

    you can’t really make a like for like comparison with a theatre and a leisure centre though. You dismiss the leisure centre’s value, but neglect the social, economic and health benefits of people using leisure facilities. Those few who can afford to cough up ridiculous prices to see tribute bands might get mental stimulation, but the wider benefits are nowhere near as strong. As for the economic benefits there is no hard evidence to back them up.

    yes, in an ideal world it would be lovely to have a shiny theatre that the la-di-da brigade could enjoy but these are hard times and the council are having to make hard decisions. Would you be prepared to tell the council workers who are losing their jobs (unlikely to be high paid ones) that they are more deserving of being thrown on the scrap heap than the theatrre is?

    read the other reports on here. They are sacking people left right and centre and getting rid of services for young people and community hubs in some of Lichfields poorest and most needy areas, yet you are telling us that because some big-wig artistic director is here that the theatre somehow deserves its hand-out???? You need to get your bloody prioirities right matey.

  7. Cynic

    20th June, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    “You need to get your “xxxxxx” priorities right matey.”
    He has for himself!

    Thanks for that Wiggy – it did make me LOL.

    What does surprise me is we keep reading the Garrick and staff are the best thing since sliced bread but the people that love it are not actually prepared to pay for it! They only want it if others foot the bill.

  8. Mr Lichfield

    20th June, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    its quite simple, the garrick should not be public funded. It should rely soley on its own income and generation of funding. Lichfield District Council should not be using public money for this theatre. Health, community and wellbeing all comes first in public funding. The £800k given / committed to the garrick needs to be urgently redirected to public services.

    This way the Garrick stays and the lovey dovies have what they want, but just not at public expense.

    Eric Pickles MP suggest we should “out” these councils who put money into these theatres at public expense. Theatres should be private sector led without any public finances being used.

  9. john

    20th June, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Deary deary me. The contradiction in these comments are bizzare. You want a community hub help for young people yet want to cut servives like the garrick youth theatre, youth choir, the buisness and enterprise fairs, the cuts to the local college that educate young people. This shows point blank you think a theatre is just an evening entertainment. Using the nee vic S an example their education ourteach programme has FACTs it does better than the local council at helpi g vulnerable and special needs children. Would a profit run theatre be able or want to fund a scheme lime that…urm no for thoze k actual buisness they would see that as wasted expenditure. So goodbye all you wasteful kids back on the rubbish heap you go because theatres should have no subsidy. I don’t say theatres can’t and shouldn’t make profit…if you play safe and act non creatively then you can make profit easy do a rew big musicals and bam sorted. What does that do tk theatre, gives it a bad rep and boom it soon makes a lose.
    As to the sporting fanatic its a widely knows fact theatre has the same if not more posotives than sport. And I for one wpuld much rather pay a reasonable price to see a show than the extortionate prices to ride stationary bike. Health benefits only aplly to those can afford it.

    I think that’s enough to ponder over for now again some hard facts to back up the view. Not just opinionated ideals

  10. Mr Lichfield

    20th June, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Sorry John no disrespect but any chance you could re-submit your comments please, Its so difficult to read and understand clearly with the spelling mistakes and grammar. Nothing personal as I guess our using a mobile device etc..

    Thanks

  11. John

    20th June, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    With pleasure Mr Lichfield as you say typing on phones is not the easiest of things to keep track of what you are typing.

    Deary deary me. The contradictions in these comments are bizarre. You want a community hub, help for young people, yet want to cut services like the Garrick youth theatre, Garrick youth choir, the business and enterprise fairs, the cuts to the local college that work with the garrick to educate young people. This shows point blank that you think a theatre is just for evening entertainment. Using the new vic another theatre in staffordshire an example. Their education ourteach programme has FACTs to prove it does better than the local council at helping the vulnerable and special needs children. Would a profit run theatre be able to or want to fund a scheme like that?…urm no an actual business they would see that as wasted expenditure. So goodbye all you wasteful kids, back on the rubbish heap you go because theatres should have no subsidy. I don’t say theatres can’t and shouldn’t make profit…if you play safe and non creatively then you can make profit. Easy do, put on a few big musicals and bam sorted massive profit. What does that do to the theatre, gives it a bad rep and boom it soon makes a loss.
    As to the sporting fanatic it’s a widely known fact theatre has the same if not more positives than sport. I for one would much rather pay a reasonable price to see a show than the extortionate prices to ride a stationary bike. Health benefits only apply to those can afford it, therefore is not for the greater god for the community in fact everyone is subsidising the higher class to get fit.
    When did you last walk into a theatre? And what did you see? Why don’t you go? All these questions we will find intresting. You say it’s too expensive yet say it should be even more expensive to go and see a show….contradiction
    As for Mr Eric Pickles…well ofcourse he has to act the hardman and suggest the local council’s are wasting money because they want to…it allows him to get a good reputation in the cabinet by baring the brunt of the cuts, you wait till next week’s spending review. The economic benefits of the arts have been realised, and again this will be recognised in next week’s spending review.
    One final comment: War Horse, Matilda, Les Miserable, Curious Incident of the dog in the nightime. They are only 4 big titles. What do they all have in common? They all started off with public subsidy and where are they know? Open worldwide to show that the United Kingdom has a reputation for something…good theatre. Brining much needed investment into cities and towns across the land. During the recession theatre ticket sales went through the roof, more people wanted to see theatre than ever before. The Garrick will be self sufficient, I could almost bet on it, immediately…no chance BUT this idea to make it self sufficient hasn’t been a historical one. It is a recent times one, so don’t go dragging the past on the old arts centres because they are not the garrick. Yes the building maybe an adaptation of one of the old arts centres.. But that is by no means to say it is the old art centre.
    I think that’s enough to ponder over for now again some hard facts to back up the view. Not just opinionated ideals

  12. Cynic

    21st June, 2013 at 12:00 am

    “gives it a bad rep and boom it soon makes a loss.”
    You mean just like our theatre for the last 30 odd years!

  13. John

    21st June, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Indeed that’s what happened to the two arts venues in Lichfield. Nobody wanted them no touring companies wanted to visit but now the reputation is steadily growing this can be seen with the 50th anniversary of the mousetrap, that production isn’t just going to any venue.

  14. Wiggy

    25th June, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    So giving money to the theatre when community transport and community development projects are being shut is right then? Seriously, some people need to find their moral compass.

  15. Sabcat

    25th June, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    This article is one of the most insulting things I’ve read in a long time. It’s pure drivel devoid of any kind of facts at all. There’s a hidden side to the Garrick….estimates of benefit to business. Roughly translated “shut up you dumb proles, you don’t know what we know”.

    This shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone. If studies have been done on the impact of the Garrick on business in the city, publish them with details of the methodology. Hotels get business from the Garrick? Publish the details, hotels are always keen to know what draws their guest and survey them. I trust the council have collected data and are going to publish it. Give us details of how the £7million estimate has been arrived at because I for one don’t believe a word of it. Why would anyone believe anything the council says about the Garrick, they did after all claim that it would make a profit based on their assessments and estimates of the market. In 11 years it’s made no money and cost millions.

    Put up LDC, we’re not inclined to take anything you say on face value anymore.

  16. Wiggy

    26th June, 2013 at 10:34 am

    The £7 mil figure is all a big myth that can’t be substantiated. Your right to pick them up on the hotels as well because the cinema isn’t being turned into a hotel now so they clearly dont think there is that much money to be made from theatre visitors. Lichfield District Council look like they are out of the depth now the faeces has started hitting the fan. David Smith was quite clever in getting himself out of the leaders chair when he did because Wilcox is the one being left with egg on his face.

  17. John

    26th June, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    well it’s quite clear absolutely zero of you have even visited the Garrick Theater, an example of their financial report is clearly on there. And for future years all financial information will be on the charities commission website.

    Your right the last thing Lichfield needs now is a big premiere in or a hotel chain like that as there are plenty of smaller hotels than benefit the city now. If you want to attract the numbers london’s west end does you best get building a lot more theaters and extend the Garrick so it can host the massive west end shows. Oops sorry that can’t happen because you can’t invest in anything. I have a feeling the majority of you believe we should not be investing anywhere in buildings because of the cuts.

  18. Cynic

    26th June, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    “and extend the Garrick ” – It is a pity you were not around a bit longer or have you forgot – we were told all this “Male Bovine Waste Product” many years ago before we spent £Millions to face another way and lots more each year.

  19. wiggy

    26th June, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    You still haven’t answered the point about how such a huge handout can be morally right when workers elsewhere are losing their jobs and community facilities and services are closing to save what in some cases is just 25k?

    This isn’t about who likes going to the theatre or not, it’s about whether millions are being well spent at a time when the elderly face being stuck in their homes because there is no community transport, or because youngsters have no play sessions to go to. We keep being told times are tough. It’s about time the decisions were too. By all means support the Garrick in some ways, but can the sums really be appropriate when you look at the comparatively small sums being cut elsewhere meaning complete closure of other facilities?

  20. wiggy

    26th June, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    The 50th anniversary of the Mousetrap or a community transport services for some of the city’s most needing people???

  21. John

    26th June, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Wiggy,

    I have said in this post or another article by all means Cut the Garrick’s subsidy by a bit. I openly admit it’s alot of money and it probably would be morally wrong not to pass on something up to a 10% cut to that.

    As for morally, yes it is a shame some services will go both if the theatre subsidy was competently scrapped or if it wasn’t. But what it seems lichfield haven’t even complimented is the private sector. Cannock Chase made a deal with a private company to manage their leisure centres, now before people scream and say the private sector how very dare you, they will raise prices etc etc. It’s all in the contract everything the coucnil wanted to keep – ie no or minimum price increases the right to stop the contract is targets aren’t met, free gym membership to armed services etc. Through a deal like this the council doesnt have the upkeeping costs – the private company pay for better facilities ie the rugeley leisure centre has just had an extension that came at no extra burden to council tax payers and local people are not paying an increase in membership. Now, why can’t Lichfield do deals like that with their leisure facilities? The theatre itself as I’m sure your aware has undergone a similar change which will ultimately lead to a much much smaller subsidy, and a way the council actually gets rent for the theatre, something it’s not had in the past since it was a council run environment.

    The council also I feel could do a lot more with the Garrick as a community facility – the studio space would be a fantastic cheaper alternative to hold community groups etc.

  22. Sabcat

    27th June, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I’ve read the economic impact section of the annual report on the Garrick’s web site. No economic impact study has been conducted on the Garrick. What they have done is taken a formula produced by Professor Dominic Shellard of Sheffield University that he has used to assess the economic impact of the entire UK Theatre industry and claimed that it is an “industry standard”.

    There a couple of problems with this, firstly the report was paid for by the Arts Council. As the saying goes “who pays the piper calls the tune”. You wouldn’t read a report about climate change paid for by the oil industry uncritically, why would you read this report in the same way? You can see the problems with the report instantly in the methodology section. It’s based on questionnaires sent out to theatres in which they are asked, amongst other things, to estimate the amount their customers spend on food, transport and childcare. What they haven’t done is collected any verifiable data. The theatres have a vested interest in exaggerating the amounts and don’t have any way of knowing the true figure anyway.

    The biggest problem with this methodology and the way the Garrick, and by extension the council have used it is it simply produces a multiplier. I could open a theatre in my shed, spend 5k a year on running it and using the formula say that the economic impact is 7.5k a year. It’s clearly rubbish because it takes no account of what’s actually happening. There is no data.

    The council really must thing we’re stupid.

  23. Lucas

    27th June, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I’ve read a few articles now where Lichfield District Council have quoted things that aren’t factually correct. You should only say things if you have solid evidence to back them up.

    Every town or city should have a good public arts centre or theatre. But at a time where services are being cut do the arts community expect the public to prioritise facilities like the Garrick over everything else?

    One final thought. If the Garrick’s chief executive and artistic director is regarded as a ‘big name’, surely he has the ability to make the place profitable?

  24. Foxy

    28th June, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    ‘Lichfield Garrick Critical to local businesses”(and we’ll pretend vital to the local community)

    Pardon my french, but boules.
    For years two shops direclty opposite the Garrick were failures or empty.

    I see hundreds dropped off at the Garrick by Couch. When the show is over they get straight back on the couch.

    These are tough times where we need tough descisions.

    Community money isn’t for (supposedly) bolstering local businesses advertising budgets.
    The very suggestion of this is offensive.

    We’ve seen cuts to disabled peoples Gym subsidies so people can go the theatre? And so many more cuts to vital lifelines.
    So people can see Swan Lake on a stage that’s too small?

    Get real.

    The Stage is too small so that we could have the posh apartments built at Minster Pool.(along with several empty retail units).

    Get real.

    The whole thing is a joke, an epic failure.

    Put the theatre tickets up by 50p or whatever it is.

    Talking about the unseen community work of the Garrick?

    Whatever.. we’ll just have those subsidies and do ten times as much for the community with it.

    there’s plenty of social clubs and village halls for the Amateur dramatics groups.

    We don’t need a £1500 a night “community facility”.

    Crawl back under your posh rock.

  25. John

    28th June, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    what community work? good gracious can people not read. Local college, work experience programme, giving young people places to go ie youth groups, choir groups, a place for young enterprise to go, a CHEAP place for local am dram groups to perform, FREE TOILET USE, TOURISM OFFICE, need i go on?

    as for coach trips….I have never seen one coach parked outside the Garrick dropping people off. I have seen people walking FROM the town to the theater and back IN the town after a show has finished.

    It is NOT in a theatre to exaggerate it;s earning through food and drink any theatre is run by an indepandant board and they will scrutinise the crap out of it.

    Yes the stage is not big enough to host The Lion King, but what you would know if you actually taken an interest in any arts is that the majority of quality touring productions are not major massive productions, they cost too much. For example the lion king in birmingham, it has to stay there 3 MONTHS to make an inpact. Image that at the Garrick? where would the youth productions and community groups go then? Producers of theatre companies also have strict rules on what type of stage their production can fit, so if swan lake has ben at the Garrick (it has) then it can fit!
    Oh sorry you think they should perform in a room or as you call it a church hall. The lichfield players co-produce an annual production with a professional company called the garrick rep – what would happen to that? That’s the difference you see the Birmingham hippodrome has an education department and that is how it classes itself as a community theater. But as for the community itself well it can;t afford their £50 a ticket musical touring shows.

    You look at the financial state of the Garrick in comparison to its predecessors and you would actually see the massive impact its artistic director has had. Moving the garrick from being a council run theatre will also have a MASSIVE impact on what the theatre can do and show without the council going, you can’t do that. Every theatre which receives money from the arts council basically is not making profit – so should we shut down the royal Shakespeare company? because after all it should be making a profit!

    I also laugh at how you think a theatre is for the rich yet the gym is for everyone….If you can afford a gym membership then good on you. Also please see previous comments on how the local council can keep control of their gym without having the burden on money. It could also be argued if it’s not making money then that too HAS TO GO.

    I will finish off with this- by no means am I rich infact quite the opposite! as a young person my family borrowed off me as I scrimped and saved my money as a paper boy. I can count at least 3 months where I actually paid for their mortgage! all on a paperboys wage of around £13 a week. I’m still at university after fighting tooth and nail to get the grades because I didn’t go to a private school far from it. Just because I am a young person that has an interest in the theatre and wants to share that enthusiasm with others do not shoot me down as posh.

    that’s all for now…unless anyone wants to be cleared up on the facts?

  26. Sabcat

    29th June, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    The facts of this issues John are pretty clear.

    The council needs to cut spending. They’ve spewed out this garbage about the financial impact of the Garrick when they have demonstrably not carried out any kind of assessment – They are lying to us – Meanwhile they are cutting other services. Services that are clearly more important to people than the theatre such as community transport and leisure centres.

    This whole thing appears to be a white wash. They have made their decision and are trying to justify it retroactively. You claim to be at university, I’ve no idea what course you’re doing but unless it’s sports science I’d hope that critical thinking is part of it – try applying some to the output from the council.

    We’ve been seeing this kind of drivel from the council since before the Garrick was built. Lichfield District Council has a 100% record of being wrong. Not one single prediction or assurance they have made about the Garrick has been proved correct. Not one. That they are not reduced to putting out spurious number that they have absolutely no way of backing up is nothing short of pathetic.

    I can feel an order for a few thousand stickers coming on to go up around the city and district to highlight the councils lies to us. Watch this space. There’s no way the council are going to get away with this without a hell of a mess being kicked up.

  27. Lucas Coe

    29th June, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Who cares what sort of productions the Garrick can attract? This just shows how silly this whole issue is – and is a perfect example of why people are asking questions on why the council should be funding the place. I want to see the Garrick do well. But the people who run the place must understand why there is scepticism.

  28. johnthemon

    29th June, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Where are our fine eloquent councillors at this moment in time that grace us with their comments on this forum from time to time, your comments on this topic would be more than welcome…or is that asking a little bit too much?

  29. Foxy

    29th June, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    As for the tourism office in the Garrick-
    Can that not go in New Minster House, in the Public gallery that was a planning condition of it being built?

    Oh – thats not there?
    Smells a bit Fishy to me.

    Its rotten.
    And i dont wanna pay for it.

  30. Mr Lichfield

    29th June, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    The tourist information centre has now moved out of the Garrick into St mary’s centre

  31. Wilson the Volleyball

    3rd July, 2013 at 10:27 am

    John totally agree with you.
    Someone give me an explanation why leisure centres are more deserving of our council tax? They do very little for the business community and they certainly don’t attract people from other towns. It’s not just the ‘la di dah brigade’ we should be thinking about. I’d bet there are hundreds of companies who do business with the Garrick. What about them? I’m not talking about restaurants and bars here, I’m talking about the companies who do the maintenance, the cleaning, the catering, the lights etc etc. What about all the people that work at the Garrick too? Are they not important?
    If we keep cutting things like this Lichfield will become a real ghost town within 10 years.

  32. Foxy

    3rd July, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Wilson The Volleyball –
    Those are the reasons for originally building the Garrick.
    Shops have been closing ever since.

    Affordable leisure facilities that benefit health – are more important than an expensive theatre (which many cannot access due to high ticket prices).

    I really can’t see why a small ticket price increase to greatly reduce subsidies in these “tough times” is such a problem.

    Would £1 more per £20 ticket really CAUSE THE Garrick to fail?

    I doubt it.

  33. Doopster

    5th July, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    All hail Nina The Great, saver of The Garrick.

  34. Doopster

    5th July, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    That was a sarcastic remark, I should add.

  35. John

    9th July, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you Wilson, it’s nice to see someone else has a level headed idea about this and can see the Garrick is not just a theatre, It’s an employer.

    Foxy – leisure centre’s are not affordable, intact they are that affordable the NHS has to PAY people to go there! The fact is you moan and groan about the Garrick making a loss yet when leisure facilities do that’s ok because that loss is *affordable*. It’s that affordable it could have offset the cuts in the city.

    I have gone through life being a very level headed indidiule and this subject is no different. It’s just on real life experience and the facts it has allowed me to come to the conclusion you are well and truly wrong.

    The tourist centre has moved? Oh good! that’s less money the Garrick has to fork out to cover!People are suggesting the Garrick is not doing anything to make it a profitable theatre – and yes this does take time you ask anyone who owns a proper business! The fact is the Garrick has extended it’s seating and is currently building two new hospitality suites. Both of which will bring in added revenue to the theatre and eventually it will make a profit. Baring in mind alot of theatre’s do not make profit to name two I’m going to say the national theatre in london and the Royal Shakespeare Theatres. But let’s forget about them shall we because neither of them bring in revenue for their towns and cities.

    And to Lucas Coe – Indeed the theatre will notice the criticism and I can assure you like every business it will be questioned by the trustee board (just like every detail of the garrick’s financial results). This is made up of local councillors, business and arts experts. Every time the grrick makes a loss the artistic director has to say what’s wrong, where it went wrong how he is going to sort it. And if the board doesn’t trust that instinct the director get’s thrown out- simple as that.

    and Sabcat just a little note for you – please research correctly. The arts council is a government body and therefore is criticised by the government scrutiny committee – IT CAN NOT create a formulae that makes everything look rosy in the garden.

    you get you’re stickers out there – I’m sure it will be just as successful as a campaign a few years ago to try and get the Garrick closed down (oops not very. Seems to be someone is a printing company that has decided not to do business with the Garrick – or prices are too high for them.

  36. Simon

    9th July, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    This is my final ever comment on Lichfield Live.

    To say I’m disappointed in them and their irresponsibility in acting as a responsible partner in local affairs is an understatement. To actively encourage and promote links to a website that is blatantly anarchist, actively sells products that encourage people to riot, incites them to police hatred and describes the Tories as “scum” to name but a few topics is clearly against the morality and principles of the vast majority of law abiding citizens.

    To encourage a sticker campaign, that, if successful will litter the city with an undemocratically representative mess that will probably cost us tax payers thousands of pounds to clear up is shear madness.

    It has become clear to myself, having followed this thread of comments since the beginning that all that Lichfield Live is doing is, on the whole giving a disproportionately large mouthpiece to a very small element of the population, with an extreme point of view far removed from the population as a whole. The sensible and responsible comments from genuinely interested people like myself are drowned by the anarchistic element intent on spreading as much malicious and facetious lies as they can. Don’t get me wrong, we live in a democracy and everyones comments should be listened to but there has to be balanced, reasonable mediation and this is where Lichfield Live has failed.

    As a local business owner in the retail sector that has now been trading in excess of 60 years, has a multimillion-pound turnover and that now employs in excess of 40 people I hope I am in a strong position to comment with a degree of knowledge and experience.

    I am a big supporter of the Garrick and, contrary to the impressions given on this website it actually costs us individually very little. The city centre of Lichfield in common with all town centres may not be thriving as it once was but it would be significantly disadvantaged without the Garrick. There is absolutely no doubt that the revenue string that the Garrick brings into the city is far greater than the costs associated with it. The work the theatre does often behind the scenes in support of our community, our young people and the promotion and prominence it gives to the city should not be dismissed lightly.

    The principle remit of a theatre is to entertain, educate, engage, inspire and inform. The Garrick amply delivers on all of these. The city both culturally and monetarily would be oh so much poorer without it.

  37. OldMan

    9th July, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    “JOHN” I admit to being just plain curious – what are you reading at university?

  38. BrownhillsBob

    9th July, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    The Beano.

  39. Mr Lichfield

    9th July, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    simon, i object to your slur that i am “minority” or “Anarchist” . I am a person who objects to public money being used to finance a theatre. Accept that this is my view, also accept that in a time when public finance is being removed from local councils it is no longer applicable for LDC to be funding the garrick when cutting back on front line services. I am glad its your last post

  40. Sabcat

    9th July, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Anarchists spreading malicious and facetious lies eh Simon? The only lies that appear to have been spread are from the council and the Garrick management in relation to the financial impact of the theatre, giving the false impression that they have carried out an assessment.

    As for Lichfield Live, they report what’s going on in the area, that they don’t filter it for your benefit or ours is the best thing about them. They know about something, they report it. It means you have to read about the activities of anarchists and we have to read about what Mickey Fab is up to. We can live with it, it amuses me no end that you can’t. Typical entitled Tory.

  41. johnthemon

    9th July, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    @Simon
    “As a local business owner in the retail sector that has now been trading in excess of 60 years, has a multimillion-pound turnover and that now employs in excess of 40 people”

    You are pretty well off so it seems Simon, don’t you think it only fair to think of those who are not so well off, those that are going to suffer because of these cuts, this is the point that Sabcat and others are trying to get over, is this so very wrong? Why not stand your ground Simon and put your case over without calling people names we all might learn something including yourself. Thanks Lichfield Live, keep up the good work.

  42. Foxy

    10th July, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    The internet has given us a voice.

    The plutocracy is long gone, Simon.
    And your views of censorship – are frightening.

    This ain’t the days of the old council funded Lichfield Mercury.

  43. Ross

    10th July, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    In response to Simon’s earlier post, part of the way LichfieldLive has always been run is that it merely reports what is happening and leaves the comment to those who have opinions on it. We have covered a number of issues where people may feel passionately (on both sides of the argument) but it isn’t our place to decide who can or cannot have a say on that issue.

    The only place we draw the line is on comments which may have a legal implication, which brings me on to a quick reminder.

    It’s great that people are engaging in the debate, but I’d ask all commenters to remember that we ask people to keep things “civil and healthy” – and also to abide by the laws of the land. Therefore, would posters refrain from playing a game of Guess Who? with the identity of other commenters. On a number of occasions in recent weeks we’ve been forced to delete posts where people have tried to suggest who may be hiding behind which usernames. Similarly, we’ve had to remove comments from people pretending to be others.

    We don’t want to stop people commenting and we’ve been quite open about allowing comments to appear. However, we will pre-moderate comments from certain users going forward if that is the route we need to take.

    We understand people passionate about issues, but please remember to stay on the right side of the line.

  44. BrownhillsBob

    11th July, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Well said, Ross. Nothing cheeses me off more that sockpuppeting.

    Shame we can’t harness some of the flatulence and hot air spewed around here and use it to heat civic buildings. The fuel savings alone could probably ameliorate the cuts completely.

    Bob

  45. John

    12th July, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    What do I study? well I would have thought my educated and factual posts would have already suggested what I study. And no not a comic book of any sort. I study theatre arts to given it’s short name. And before you go blabbing on with the usual Mickey Mouse I shall show you my written work or even timetable. Myself with others who study the tradition *academic* courses have compared the workload of myself to them. Not only do I do no fewer than 2 English academic modules, all my other modules amount to something of the sort of at least 5 times the amount of any other course. I have undergone much research into the difference of public and private run theatres.

    Now a proper business has commented on this and got -6 comments. Now this is a company that is doing well and yet you blast his views. Now I’m sorry this proves a lot. You would deny the facts if they rubbed under your noses.

    If I see as much as one sticker littering the streets of Lichfield I hope the council sends the bill to the *company* who thought it was a great idea.

  46. Cynic

    13th July, 2013 at 10:58 am

    John -” doing well and yet you blast his views”

    You really should start living in the real world .You have quoted a millionaire who is basically saying he is one of the richest people in Lichfield and all the poor people should be forced to pay for his pleasures.
    I see from your other post your hopes are theatre oriented but try to understand a bit about finance – for example from what you have told us – you/mom/dad – only one out of three pays council tax!

  47. John

    15th July, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Oh I love the business side of theatre itself – I find I intriguing. Myself going through a fair number of financial reports of theatres. For example the garrick moving to be it’s own trust – fantastic news for the tax payer and also the theatre. Being local authority run – like any theatre chokes the artistic side and therefore means less risk taking to bring in profit. The Garrick does take quite a bit in subsidy yes..and I would love for it to become running from grants from the arts council/local businesses/Local business people. The truth of the matter is The Garrick has only just transferred from the clutches of local control ofcourse it’s going to need a slightly heavy subsidy to start with – to give it financial stability to achieve greatness. It is also believe it or not quite a small subsidy. Let’s put some more figures in the blast shall we. Stoke On Trent City Council give the regent theatre £626,000 a year. Now for those who don’t know this is owned by the Ambassadors Theatre Group – a commercial profit making company. Now I call into question such a figure- which should a council be giving a commercial venue such a hefty sum. The garrick from what i can gather will be a non for profit company meaning any profit it makes is to be reinvested. It will need subsidy any non for profit theatre does – where this comes from is another difference. I would love for the arts council o say it will give £500,000 to the Garrick, i would love staffordshire county council to say it will give the Garrick £500,000. The realism s neither is going to happen. Normally the arts council only give money when the local authority also invests. So whether this means the arts council will invest say £100,000 and then lichfield DC and Staffordshire CC invest £200,000 each or whether the garrick’s plans are to receive investment elsewhere that will all be in the plan. But what can’t do is say right your now a charity we’re not giving you any money no more. You wouldn’t do it to a business, you can’t do it to a theatre.

    On the other hand what we don;t know is if Lichfield DC have signed a contract to bind them to give the Garrick x amount for X amount of years – if this is the case them paying the get out clause could then mean more cost cutting.

    I would love to see no cuts to be made to anything whether it be youth centres or help for the elderly or disabled. But the truth is these cuts will have to be made. And certainly cutting something like the Garrick is a bit odd. The council may not have budgeted for funding the Garrick after 3 years – so what happens then? another project would have to be cut to serve that blackhole?

    I’m going to end once again with a comparison to the RSC. Around 10 years ago the RSC had a 3 million pound debt. It was close to collapse. Yet now, it’s making a profit year on year and brining in much needed revenue from big showstoppers like Matilda. Even now it still recieved money from arts council england and the surrounding local councils. So one of the most probably national tresures of theatres in this country received local grant support – even in this tough economic time.

    You go to the garrick and you see the audience – it is the vulnerable who use it the young an old – not the middle class they toddle off to pay a fortune elsewhere. The garrick is not a middle class theatre, its a community theatre and no matter what labour try to spin it into they should be supporting a theatre that welcomes all. If anything it should be the alternative labour should be supporting the Garrick and the tories should be firmly against.

    This post will probably get numerous thumbs downs like my previous comments, but it’s the truth. A balanced point of view that acknowledging the Garrick can be soo much more but the fact that it’s on a road to success and cutting all of it’s funding – again not suggesting it should be exempt from a cut is the the answer.